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Royal guests for Battle of Britiain service

Sunday, 19th September 2010

Royal guests for Battle of Britiain service

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, Air Chief Marshal, attended a Service of Thanksgiving and Rededication for Battle of Britain Sunday at Westminster Abbey on 19th September 2010. He was accompanied by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall and His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales.

The service was also attended by the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon David Cameron MP, and the Secretary of State for Defence, the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP.

In his Bidding the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said:

We gather on the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain to recall, with thanksgiving to almighty God, the heroism and dedication of members of the Royal Air Force and of the allied air forces, without whose bravery, in that remarkable struggle for air supremacy over Britain in 1940, the Second World War would have been lost.
As on every Battle of Britain Sunday we reflect on their gallantry and fortitude, we remember all who have served and those who still serve in the Royal Air Force; we honour all who have fought and those who still fight in the service of freedom.
Acknowledging with penitence the suffering and destruction caused by armed conflicts, we renew our determination always to seek the ways of justice and peace. Recognising with sorrow that armed conflicts become necessary, we pray for the Royal Air Force and all the forces of the Crown, in particular those currently engaged in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and the South Atlantic.

The Ensign of the Royal Air Force paraded at the service, known as the Fighter Command Ensign, was paraded for the last time. It is to be laid up in the Royal Air Force Memorial Chapel at the East End of the Abbey’s Lady Chapel. Wing Commander Bob Foster DFC AE RAF (retired), Chairman, Battle of Britain Fighter Association, asked the Dean ‘to receive the Fighter Command Silk Ensign for safe lodging in this House of God until such a time as it shall pass to dust like those whose courage and devotion are enshrined in its history.’ The Dean replied, ‘We receive this Ensign into the safe keeping of God’s House, here to hang as a  reminder to those who pass by of man’s duty to God, to his Sovereign, and to his country.’

Flt Lt M Lindley RAF read Isaiah 40: 27-31 from the Nave Pulpit and Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton KCB ADC RAF, Chief of the Air Staff, read Ephesians 6: 10-18 from the Great Lectern.

During the Act of Remembrance the Battle of Britain Roll of Honour was borne from the Grave of the Unknown Warrior in the Nave to the Sacrarium. It was accompanied by veterans of the Battle of Britain together with relatives of veterans and serving RAF pilots.

The Sermon was given by the Venerable Raymond Pentland QHC RAF, Chaplain-in-Chief of the Royal Air Force.

Prayers were led by the Reverend Michael Macey, Minor Canon of Westminster.

The service was sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey directed by the Sub Organist, Robert Quinney. The organ was played by James McVinnie, Assistant Organist. Before the service the Central Band of the RAF played and were conducted by Wing Commander Duncan Stubbs.

After the service HRH The Prince of Wales took the Salute at a Parade of the Central Band of the RAF, the Queen’s Colour Squadron, a flight of RAF personnel, a flight of RAAF personnel and a flight of Air Cadets. After the Parade there was a flypast by a Spitfire and a Hurricane from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight with four Typhoons from Number 3 (F) Squadron RAF Coningsby.

See also

The Sermon given by the Venerable Raymond Pentland QHC RAF, Chaplain-in-Chief of the Royal Air Force

The Order of Service (PDF, 244 KB)

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I’ve worked here for over thirty years and have seen many of the major services - it’s strange to realise that you are in a small way part of history.

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Pamela - Rector's Secretary

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